4 Dark AF Marketing Screw-Ups

Seats at the back of a plane are the safest!

The more we tighten our belts (and fanny packs), the more businesses have to take giant swings with their marketing. Unfortunately, some companies' recent swings weren't so much "big" as they were "embarrassing tragicomic disasters," like how ...

ZipRecruiter Promoted Itself on a White Nationalist Podcast

These days, it seems like everyone has a podcast: your friends, your favorite comedians, even your grandma -- which explains why she was hitting you up about, "Showing some love on my Patreon."

Unfortunately, this same sentiment also applies to a grand (wizard) number of white supremacist websites and organizations. Because we live in hellworld, they're currently enjoying an unparalleled level of access to your racist relatives' ears and frontal lobes ... at least when they aren't deservedly getting fired from their public service(!) jobs. Usually, while screeching, "BLAHBLAHmarketplace of ideasBLAHBLAHthoughtcrime dictatorshipBLAHBLAHsnowflake!"

"If you want a picture of the future, imagine a #IsCancelledParty stamping on a human face -- forever."

You might be wondering: how do these podcasts make real money? It's not like they can get lucrative sponsorship deals, at least not until the folks at Squarespace and Audible start really needing the business. Hell, even NordVPN won't touch them, and they'll sponsor any old tat. There are exceptions, however ... like that time the recruitment website ZipRecruiter enlisted the help of a white nationalist podcast to promote its wares, which led to one of the darkest content-to-advert segues in marketing history:

"Well listen, these business owners having these problems, I mean maybe if they had a good service available to them like, uh, ZipRecruiter, they, they wouldn't, uh, run into these issues. They'd be able to find the help they need without any of these weird, these weird arguments and things, so, you know.


Are you hiring? Do you know where to post your job, find the best candidates? With ZipRecruiter, you can post your job to 100+ job sites with just one click, then their powerful technology efficiently matches the right people to your job ..."

Before you head over to ZipRecruiter to delete your resume, it turns out that the site isn't run by racist skinhead dipshits, just average, run-of-the-mill dipshits. As the company tearfully explained later, they'd meant to buy ad time on a similarly-named podcast about triathlons, but their junior ad buyer, um, didn't do that. Our guess is that they saw the words 'racial superiority' and thought, "Yeah, that sounds like something triathlon racers would say."

KLM Tried to Drum Up Sales With a Tweet About Deadly Plane Crashes

The airline industry is going through a tough time. Revenues are down, complaints are up, and more people are starting to wonder whether flying halfway across the world to drink cocktails and contract an STD is quite the best way to spend our planet's dwindling resources. (You have plenty of places to get cold gin and itchy crabs at home.) And that was before an actual pandemic happened, which has only sent them spiraling further into a dark, deep existential oblivion.

Off the back of this, the social media team at KLM India decided to amuse themselves by posting some #TuesdayTrivia about, um, the best place to sit if your airplane falls out of the goddamn sky.

KLM India
Fatality rates for your career are marginally higher when tweeting shit like this. 

Aside from the fact that it's a bad look for airlines to joke about plane crashes, the real kicker is how their #trivia isn't even true: because if the seats at the back were crashproof, that's where first class would be, dummy. KLM swiftly apologized and deleted the tweet, and (presumably) changed their account password before the guilty intern decided "screw it" and got horny on main like US Airways did.

Magnum Screams for Ice Cream, Human Rights Abuses

At the time of writing, it's illegal to be LGBT in over 70 countries across the globe, including Nigeria, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, and Guyana. The punishment for this 'crime' varies from place to place, but common punishments include beatings and lashings, life imprisonment, and, of course, the death penalty.

If you care about human rights, you'd be forgiven for feeling a mixture of emotions while reading that last paragraph: anger, sadness, confusion, disgust, hunger. We can't speak to feeling the latter, personally, but if this is what gets your food engine going, good news: you're the target market of Magnum Ice Cream Bars. In 2019, they dropped a public relations deuce of a radio advert, which compared the "guilty pleasure" of being LGBT in Iran with the "guilty pleasure" of eating their overpriced Good Humor bar.

After the advert drew a ton of complaints from people, the company apologized and said that all they wanted to do was show people that "what is considered a guilty pleasure isn't always what you would expect." Which, okay, A) no-one has ever been tortured/murdered for eating ice cream, and B) you can stop eating ice cream any time, folks.

Instagram is the *Only* Place to See Misogynistic Abuse (According to Instagram)

Saying the internet has a problem with harassment and abuse is like saying that water has a "problem" with being wet. By this point, it's just a natural part of the landscape. So when technology journalist Olivia Solon received an email from someone threatening to rape and murder her, she decided to take a stand. She posted a screenshot of the offending email on Instagram, to show everyone just how much cyberbullshit women deal with for daring to *squints* generally exist.

The post got a tepid response: three likes and 12 comments. However, to Instagram, the post was nothing short of genius and algorithmically decided that it needed to go viral right no-- uh, a whole-ass year later. When it plastered the post all over Solon's' friends walls -- assumingly as a way of getting them to sign up to Instagram because heaven forbid they spend five seconds not helping Zuck earn a buck.

Olivia Solon

Solon soon noticed that Instagram was commodifying her abuse for #content, and forced the company to apologize -- with them saying that the post "surfaced as part of an effort to boost engagement" and that this is "not the type of experience we want someone to have." Instagram didn't clarify what type of experience they want users to have, and considering their latest ones involve "stumbling across child porn" and "feeling complicit in war crimes," we're not quite sure either.

Adam Wears is (allegedly) a comedy writer. Want to read other articles he's written for Cracked? Click here! Want to follow him on Twitter? Click here! Want to check out his website? Click here!

Top Image: Magnum Ice Cream, KLM

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